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SIG 556 Range Report - The Good, The Bad and The SIG

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by cslinger, Apr 14, 2007.

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  1. cslinger

    cslinger Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    SIG 556 Range Report - The Good, The Bad and The SIG

    I managed to get out to the range for a very short shooting session with the new SIG 556 rifle. The weather was gloomy to say the least. It was a bit windy, raining and chilly so conditions were far from optimal.

    A little background is in order. I am a SIG guy. SIG Sauer handguns have been, by far, the most reliable, accurate handguns that I have ever used. More-so then Glocks, Rugers, HKs and so on. I have long been waiting for the next iteration of the SIG 55x series to come to our shores so I could add a rifle to the collection. The fact that it is an evil black middle finger to the likes of proposed laws like HR1022 doesn’t hurt either.

    I also feel that I must make everybody aware that I have no problem with direct impingement firearms such as the AR15/M16 system. I feel that good quality versions of these weapons used with quality magazines and given a modicum of care will be just as reliable as their op rod counterparts while also returning better inherent mechanical accuracy. So I am not an AR hater, although I could do without that damn SPROOIINNGG after every shot but I digress. At any rate on to the 556.

    As always all ratings are out of 10 rounds with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. Also please note that I am a high drag low speed guy with no illusions of being some super secret operation or plans to fend off a combined attack from armed, chainsaw wielding, mutant ninja, zombie bears. I am just a dude who likes things with a bang switch.

    ERGONOMICS 7 ROUNDS – The SIG 556 is much better in this area then say an AK47 or HK 9x series but still doesn’t have the ergo’s ole’ Eugene’s black rifle. The magazine release is a little far for short fingers and the selector switch is a little hard to reach for those with short stubby thumbs like mine. Neither of these took away from my shooting and only required ever so slight changes in grip but the fact is the AR15 is better in this regard. The AR15s charging handle is also better IMHO for true ambi use. The 556 does have a very substantial charging mechanism that has a rubber coating for a great feel. The stock is a standard AR type collapsible, which I find more then adequate. There are compartments in the grip and stock for batteries, parts etc.

    Where I think the 556 seems to shine is the forearm. It is very comfortable and has plenty of mounting points for lights, bipods etc.

    RELIABILITY 6 ROUNDS (TO BE RE-EVALUATED) – I cannot stress enough to those buying any new firearm the need for that firearm to be completely field stripped and cleaned before the first trip to the range. I broke this rule with the 556 by only doing a quick bore cleaning before shooting and I believe it came back to bite me. In first 20 rounds or so I had 4 instances where the operating rod would not come completely forward chambering the next round. Even empty it felt sluggish/gummy returning to battery. Further shooting seemed to clear this up. Upon returning home I totally broke the firearm down and found gobs of that copper tone smelling white preservative grease SIG uses on their guns that I hadn’t cleaned out on both the rails and op rod spring. After a good cleaning the bolt worked much more smoothly and returned to battery with alacrity. Due to the fact that the tolerances on this rifle are VERY tight and the nut behind the trigger didn’t clean it out properly out of the box I will re-evaluate the reliability the first chance I get. CLEAN YOUR GUNS OUT OF THE BOX FOLKS. I expect this to be a solid 10 next time out.

    ACCURACY 7 ROUNDS – Not much time today to do more then just sight in and the fact that I only had a Leupold 2x7 rimfire scope to use didn’t help. GOD FORBID SIG ACTUALLY DELIVER A BATTLE RIFLE WITH FRIGGEN OPEN SIGHTS but I digress. At any rate after sighting in at 50 yards I was able to keep my rounds easily into the center of the target making a larger and larger single hole. This was with cheap UMC light weight hollow point ammo, basically the worst thing I could ever use for a 1 in 7 twist rifle so I am pretty happy and have high hopes once I get a feel for the gun as well as put some better open sights and optics on her.

    TRIGGER 8 ROUNDS – I am giving it high marks as compared to other rifles of this type. The trigger is heavy but buttery smooth with great break. All in all a great trigger for a combat oriented firearm.

    FIT & FINISH 9 ROUNDS – The 556 I received is TIGHT. The tolerances are very tight and might actually need a little working in. The finish was even on both upper and lower. My 556 does not seem to exhibit the canted picatinny rail or any other issues. The lower is immaculate as far as tool marks etc. I am very impressed with the fit and finish of this rifle. My only complaint is the front handguards do not feel as robust as I would like them to.

    COOL FACTOR 8 ROUNDS – It is a SIG rifle what more could you ask for? Yeah I wanted a semi auto 550/551 too but lets move on shall we. This is a very cool rifle with lots of attachment locations for tacticool doodads and other stuff. It is basically a SIG 55x upper that takes AR 15 magazines. Personally I like it and I finally have a SIG EBR.

    BANG FOR THE BUCK 8 ROUNDS – For $1199 one gets a piston driven rifle with a great pedigree, with a flattop rail, good trigger, lots of attachment points, hard case and great fit and finish. So basically it costs around the same if not less then a comparable AR15 made by Colt, Bushmaster, LMT etc. The rifle is not cheap but neither is the competition. When you look at FN charging almost $2000 for the FS2000 the SIG is downright affordable. The fact she takes cheap and available AR magazines seals the deal.

    OVERALL 6 ROUNDS – I want to give it higher marks here but it looses points for three very important reasons.
    1) NO FRIGGEN IRON SIGHTS AS DELIVERED. I will speak no more of this.
    2) All things considered it seems to be a great rifle but it doesn’t seem to do anything hugely better then a comparable AR15. Other then the cool factor especially for SIG folks like me, there really is no reason to buy a 556 if you are happy with the AR15 platform.
    3) NO FRIGGEN IRON SIGHTS AS DELIVERED….oh sorry did I speak of this again.

    So in closing, I very much like this rifle. It feels great, it fills my desire for a SIG rifle, it seems to shoot well and it is a damn cool addition to my collection. I cannot wait to outfit it as I wan with a good set of irons and either an Eotech or Aimpoint. That being said if you are simply shopping for a good rifle, I would suggest looking closer at the AR15s since parts are more available, they work great and should be a bit more inherently accurate. The 556 is a great rifle and I don’t want my review to come across as negative as I am highly impressed with the gun, the problem it faces is there are LOTs of great rifles out there and we are lucky enough to have options that are so good across the board that it is very hard to offer something so far and away above anything else. The 556 is good, VERY good. It is just not revolutionary.

    Take care and shoot safe. I will likely re-review when I set the rifle up the way I eventually want to.

  2. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 26, 2002
    Great review! I'd be interested in reading another one in a few months after you've had some more time with it. I've only got to handle them myself, not shoot them; but your impressions mirror my own.
  3. gdvan01

    gdvan01 Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    Central Virginia
    Nice write-up, Chris. That sucks about the sights though.
  4. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Great Britain
    Will these be exported to Europe at all? :eek:
  5. telomerase

    telomerase Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    The bear-infested hills of Grafton NH
    Aren't Liechtenstein and Switzerland in Europe :D ?

    Historically, we donate our guns to Britain every time it is threatened. Then after their bacon is saved, they scrap the guns and talk about how uncivilized we were to have them.

    So there will probably be a few of these coming to Europe in the future, although they will probably be Andorran captures given the state of things in Britain.
  6. possum

    possum Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    Concord, N.C.
    nice review, and thank you for being honset all the way through, sorry to hear about the sight situation bro, yes please feel us in again later down the road. i just saw a sig556 the other day for the first time in person and was wondering about there performance. thanks!
  7. blackhawk2000

    blackhawk2000 member

    Mar 25, 2003
    Good review.
  8. No_Brakes23

    No_Brakes23 Member

    Mar 19, 2005
    Everett, WA Recently escaped from San Diego, PRK
    Good review, thanks for posting.
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